Justin Moore - Outlaws Like Me
By: Dan MacIntosh
Why are (some) country folks so darn defensive? If Justin Moore is any cultural weathervane for the South, these modern day outlaws sure act like musical defense lawyers. However, if Southerners are so overtly proud of their lifestyle -- which they express with Confederate flags, among other symbols -- why do they work so hard to justify their way of life? It just doesn’t make sense.
Moore’s first single from Outlaws Like Me, “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” is a beautiful meditation on man’s innate desire to get back in touch with friends and loved ones that die too soon. Unfortunately, this classy and sincere track is an exception to an otherwise classless effort.
One track called “Guns” even gets defensive about self-defense. It makes a weak sauce case for gun ownership. Instead of presenting examples of why having a gun might make some sense, Moore merely defends owning guns simply because he wants to have one. On “Bait A Hook,” Moore looks down his nose at anyone that doesn’t know how to bait a hook or skin a buck. [Uh, when it comes to skinning bucks, that would make most of us unqualified, Justin. I don’t think we’re all idiots merely because we don’t hunt beautiful defenseless creatures with high-powered weaponry.] Then on “Beer Time,” Moore has recorded a song readymade for a beer commercial. It’s as though he’s replaced the word “Miller” with the word “beer.”
One pro-country music song is titled “If You Don’t Like My Twang.” On it, Moore states, “I don’t care if you don’t like my twang.” Well, if he didn’t care, why did he go to all the trouble to write a 3:43 song and record it? Once again, he’s just being overly defensive. Don’t brag about how country you are; just be yourself and let the people judge the “art.” You don’t hear George Strait boasting about how country he is. Yet nobody ever questions his credentials; you just have to hear a few seconds of that golden voice and you know it’s a great country singer, more than likely singing a great country song.
This is not just an album about guys being Southern guys, oh no. It’s also filled with Southern girls behaving like Southern guys, too, as displayed on “My Kind of Woman,” about a girl that loves to hunt and fish, and looks good in camouflage. Hey, what ever happened to just being smart and pretty?
If Black R&B artists sang songs about eating watermelon and fried chicken, they’d make utter fools of themselves. At least they know better than to create racial stereotype songs. Yet whereas most African-Americans have enough class to avoid making fools of themselves, panderers like Justin Moore let their dumb guy flags fly proudly – song after song after song.
The South is so much deeper than the Blue Collar Comedy Tour and all those redneck jokes. Justin Moore is no outlaw. A true outlaw would sing about the true soul of the South the way My Morning Jacket and Drive By Truckers do. He sings, “God bless outlaws like me,” but let’s hope the Man upstairs curses fools like Moore, instead, so that intelligent Southerners can have a bigger forum. Please step aside, Bubba.
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